Miniature galaxies have been discovered thanks theoretical and computer models. The sizes of these galaxies vary anywhere between are 10 to 1,000 times smaller than our own Milky Way.
The revelation of these dwarf galaxy clusters will provide proof for the Lambda cold dark matter paradigm (also known as the standard model)
Sabrina Stierwalt from the University of Virginia said that the paradigm is the outcome of smaller matter fusing together to form the bigger matter, according to Seeker.
"But there has been scant observational evidence of this process for low-mass galaxies despite the fact that small galaxies greatly outnumber bigger ones like the Milky Way," she added.
Data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) was used by Stierwalt and her colleagues to detect new dwarf galaxy clusters.
SDSS, which is resonsible for some of the most well-defined 3D maps of the universe, was used by the team that analysed pairs of interactive dwarf galaxies to find out if they were part of a bigger cluster.
The Apache Point Observatory in New Mexico, Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii, and the Magellan Telescope in Chile carried out the follow-up analyses and provided spectroscopy and optical images of other suspected galaxy clusters.
Seven clusters of dwarf galaxies were discovered by researchers and each of them comprised three to five members.
"We suspect these groups are gravitationally bound and thus will eventually merge to form one larger, intermediate-mass galaxy," Stierwalt said.
The galaxies are situated at a distance of 200 million and 650 million light years from Earth and they are not visible to the naked eye, News Australia reported. Only two dwarf galaxies have been seen by the naked eye thus far.
"That sounds like a lot but it is relatively nearby given the vast size of the universe. Dwarf galaxies are fainter and smaller than more massive galaxies like the Milky Way we reside in, and so they are harder to detect at farther distances," Stierwalt stated.
"Such groups are predicted to be rare theoretically and found to be rare observationally at the current epoch," she added.
These clusters give an insight into the formation and evolution of galaxies.
"The newly found dwarf galaxy groups provide direct probes of hierarchical structure formation in action at the low mass end, giving us a new window into a process expected to be common at earlier times, but nearly impossible to observe at such redshifts," the paper said.
Redshift is a cosmic yardstick used to measure distance and time. It describes the lengthening wavelengths of light emitted from distant galaxies and celestial bodies as they move away.